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Search tags: sally-rooney
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review 2018-12-28 01:50
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Normal People - Sally Rooney

A special thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada/Knopf Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A coming-of-age love story of classmates Connell and Marianne.  He's a the popular star of the football team and she is the mysterious loner.  Connell's mother works for Marianne's family and the two begin a complicated and secret relationship that starts when Connell comes to Marianne's house to pick his mother up from work.

Fast-forward a year and they are both students at Trinity College in Dublin.  Marianne has come out of her shell and flourishes socially while it is Connell that is struggling to fit in.  Throughout their time at university, they ebb and flow in each other's lives, always drawn back together.  As Marianne starts a downward spiral into self-destruction, Connell and Marianne must face just how far they are willing to go to save each other.

Rooney explores the complexity of relationships, the obsessive and possessive elements of first love, what class and social standing really means, and the entanglement of families and friendships.  She nails the disconnect that many teens experience with the real world and also with how self-absorbed they are while trying to find their place in the world.

What I found exhausting about the book on a whole was how stereotypical the characters were.  The women wanted attention and to be loved, all the while not realizing their worth.  The male characters were lacking in morals.  Just like the jock character in a teen movie, they are 'boys being boys' and this is perfectly acceptable (cue eye roll).  She also pens some vile characters that blur the lines with things like bullying and neglect that aren't fully explored, instead they simply vanish.

The writing was poignant and stirring; this book had so much potential but I couldn't see beyond what I mentioned above.  

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review 2018-12-03 17:33
Waterstones Book of the Year
Normal People - Sally Rooney

Waterstones, the U.K. book shop, just made my favourite book of 2018 their book of the year!

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review 2018-10-22 19:30
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Normal People - Sally Rooney

I fell in love with Rooney after reading Conversations with Friends. I’ve read a lot of good books this year, but this one had something special about it. The fact that it (and this) was set in Ireland, where I’m from and reside, is just another reason it was so special.

 

The story follows Marianne and Connell who know each other from school, even though they don’t interact there. At school Marianne is seen as a bit strange and this is the key factor in Connell not telling anyone when they strike up a relationship.

 

The narrative, written in third-person multiple, follows Marianne and Connell throughout the next few years when they go to University and have an on-again-off-again relationship.

 

The strength of the author lies in her ability to write flawed, authentic characters who the reader cares deeply for, regardless of the mistakes they make. Her pacing is also a strength, never too much or too little given away. It’s not hard to see why Rooney was on the longlist for the Booker, although I found her debut to be stronger. While the characters were expertly crafted, I did feel there was a little too much similarity between them and those from her debut, no more so than their political beliefs. While I agree with much the author states in regards to politics, that kind of rhetoric always feels forced. It can also come off as a little preachy, but luckily it wasn’t overdone. Another thing is when novels are mentioned in a narrative, like what a character’s reading. This always comes off as a bit pretentious, even though I do find it interesting as it adds to a character’s depth.

 

I feel like I’m being unfair to the novel by essentially picking it apart. I did still really like it, it just felt a bit similar to her debut.

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text 2018-09-25 19:59
Reading progress update: I've read 21%.
Normal People - Sally Rooney

The authors debut novel, Conversations with Friends, is one of my favourites I've read this year, so regardless of Bingo, I felt physically compelled to read it her latest effort. I couldn't look at it just sitting on my kindle anymore! I'm not going for a blackout in bingo anyhow and this is very short at just over 200 pages, so I decided to go for it. I can happily say that it's excellent already. It's about two young people and charts their relationship from school to University. Another bonus, it's set in Dublin, just 200 miles from me.

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text 2018-08-28 09:25
Reading progress update: I've read 2%. - I should stay silent but...
Normal People - Sally Rooney

...removing quotation marks around direct speech is not innovative or doing something daring with form. It's annoying and discourteous to the reader. 

 

I know that makes me sound like the grammar police but punctuation serves a purpose.

 

You'll be reminded of its purpose when you read a novel like this that ostentatiously leaves out quotation marks. Your reading slows down. You have to work harder to know not just who is speaking but whether anyone is speaking.

 

This is the writing equivalent of Brexit: I can see what it destroys but I don't see any benefits or any compelling reason to do it.

 

Rant over. I'll go back to the book now. Which is quite good by the way.

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